FULL SPANISH TRANSLATION

I’ve shared my testimony a number of times publicly but I want to share it here and hopefully give hope to many of you who are struggling with pornography or some other debilitating addiction. Sexual addiction is a “goliath” in the church that is taunting, intimidating and destroying many lives young and old. But God is raising up his generation of “Davids” who will find freedom in the secret place so that they can help many find freedom! God in his compassion, love and power has delivered me from years of pornography addiction and I have a fire in my heart and a zeal in my belly to see this generation walk in FREEDOM!

A few things I’d like to share with you right from the startI want to tell you that freedom is possible. You will not always struggle with addiction.  God has not forsaken you or abandoned you because you’ve been unable to break free from this vicious cycle. Guilt, shame and condemnation are not your friends. They are demons that want to keep you away from God’s love, his grace, his forgiveness and ultimately his power.

When I was about 5 years old a neighborhood kid showed me a Playboy magazine and it was my first exposure to pornography. Though I wasn’t old enough to necessarily lust after women in that way I remember it vividly and know that the enemy was planting a seed in my little heart that would manifest many years later. Then in 9th grade I discovered internet pornography for the first time while spending the night at a friends house. Though my heart knew it was wrong I can clearly remember having the thought, “This isn’t really hurting anyone, how can this be that bad?” That night the devil put a hook in me that wouldn’t come out for many years. 

Throughout high school and into college this secret sin would dominate my life. Dominate in the sense that it was unknown and I was unable to talk about it so I lived with a steady diet of guilt, shame and condemnation. This hellish trio was like a cancer to my soul. Stealing my joy, corrupting my self-image and driving my thoughts further away from God. Perhaps the most devastating consequence about living with this sin is that it quickly began to distort my view of God. The desire to walk in freedom coupled with the knowledge of God’s displeasure of sexual immorality caused my conscience became the devil’s playground. Feeling as though this sin disqualified me from God’s love and affection I began to hide deeper and deeper in my own shame. I believed the lie that God was disappointed with me and that “I should know better by now”. 

At the end of 2005 the cumulative weight of shame that this struggle produced in me drove me to desperation. For years I would go through this cycle of sinning, feeling ashamed, finding forgiveness and mercy, vowing to work harder on my own spiritual growth (prayer, bible study and accountability) and then falling again in a moment of weakness. I wouldn’t have been able to articulate this at the time but I actually believed that the Christians who walked in the most freedom were the ones with the most spiritual discipline. I had made a “god” of my own sincerity and devotion towards the Lord and like all idolatry it left me in bondage. So when I finally got “real” with God and began to express my frustration and displeasure towards him for not delivering me free from this addiction I was actually repenting for trying to save myself in my own strength. I determined that night to draw near to God if I sinned instead of pulling away. This may sound obvious but it felt like the most unnatural thing to do the first time I tried.

A few weeks later I remember looking at pornography, falling yet again…but this time, instead of turning my head in shame I immediately (the very next second) fell on my knees. I lifted my face towards heaven and I prayed something like this: 

Father, you see me. You know all things and you know that I hate what I just did but I feel stuck, I feel powerless against this enemy. I’m tired of hiding from you in shame, I need you to deliver me, I need you to set me free from this addiction!

It felt so unnatural to pray to God in that moment. I could feel my flesh raging and the devil screaming that I was unworthy to approach God and that I needed to run and hide instead. But something deep inside of me told me that this was the only way I would ever find freedom. To resist shame and guilt and to RUN TOWARDS God in my weakness and in my mess. A few months later I had an encounter with Jesus that transformed my life and set me free!

And this is the revelation of Jesus I want to bring to your attention if you are struggling with this sin…

IF YOU SIN, JESUS IS YOUR ADVOCATE!

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

I want you to pay close attention to this passage. First of all John makes it clear that sin is not inevitable for a believer it is merely possible. He says, “IF anyone does sin” not “WHEN anyone does sin.” This is important! Many Christians believe you cannot live free from sin until you die! But here we see that John is actually writing these things so that they may not sin!

Now, here is a side of Jesus that we don’t talk enough about in the church. If you do sin, you look at pornography, you masturbate or fall into some other form of sexual immorality we see here that Jesus presents himself to that person as an ADVOCATE! 

I share in detail about this aspect of Jesus in my first book, Back to the Gospel

*Side note: Now let me be clear that the assumption here is that you want to be free, to walk in righteousness, holiness and freedom! If you are simply looking for some justification or cheap grace so you can continue to satisfy the lusts of your flesh…you are deceived and need to repent!* 

“The moment you fall–whatever it is, lust, anger, pride, fear, addiction, you name it–if you are in Christ, I can assure you that Jesus readily desires to present Himself to you as your advocate and helper. That’s right, Jesus takes you in your failures that you’ve never been able to master, and He becomes your advocate before the Father. He starts communicating to the Father on your behalf. Finding freedom from sin habits begins with hearing the conversation that Jesus has with the Father about you. I imagine it went something like this for me:

I am sitting on my bed, hands over my face in disbelief that I fell again. How could I? I was just at church this morning, worshipping the Lord, and just a few hours later I engaged in such a perverted activity. I am such a failure. I’m not the man of God people think I am. I’m not even the kind of man God wants.

As I’m speaking this over myself, hardened in unbelief to the love of God and the reality of what is going on around, Jesus draws close. He sits beside me and places His arm around me. Looking at me, He begins speaking to the Father:

“Father, this is your son Peter. Isn’t he amazing? Look at how much he loves you and how much he hates his own sin. Remember when he was seven years old, and he put his faith in me and was baptized? I washed him in my blood and gave him my own righteousness. We sealed him with the Holy Spirit, and he belongs to us. The only reason he is lusting after women in this way is because our enemy has blinded him from seeing and believing the love we have for him. I love this man as you do, and I am going to keep pursuing him with my love until it consumes him and overwhelms all of his desires. I am going to pursue him until he is free. I am going to pursue him until he experiences an abundant life.”

excerpt from Back to the Gospel (purchase the book here) 

God loves you more than you can imagine. My prayer for you is that you would no longer hide from God in shame but come to him the moment you fall. Jesus is your advocate, your deliverer and your freedom! His nearness is your good! I bless you to hear heaven’s conversation over your life and to encounter the power of God to truly set you free!

Written by Peter Louis

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